Ole Miss Baseball Set to Open SEC Play In Nashville
NASHVILLE — (Release) No. 3 Ole Miss baseball travels to Nashville for a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series against No. 6 Vanderbilt, the first SEC series for each team this season.
Below are the projected starters and game time for each. NOTE: First pitch for Saturday’s game has been moved back to 1:00 p.m. The game will now be broadcast on SEC Network+ instead of SEC Network.
- Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have not played a full series since May of 2021, when Ole Miss won 2-of-3 in Oxford.
- The Commodores won the last matchup between the two teams, beating the Rebels 3-1 in the first round of the 2022 SEC Tournament.
- This is the first time the Rebels have played in Nashville since 2018.
- Ole Miss moved up in five of the six national polls this week, with their highest ranking coming at No. 2 from the NCBWA.
- Over the weekend, Kemp Alderman and TJ McCants became the first pair of teammates to combine for six home runs in two-consecutive games since 1998.
- The Rebels hit 3+ home runs in three-consecutive games last week for the first time since the 2019 Oxford Regional.
- Last Saturday, Kemp Alderman gave Ole Miss their first true (9+ inning) walk-off since April 24, 2021 vs. LSU.
- Ole Miss is ranked ninth in the NCAA in batting average, 10th in fielding percentage, 13th in slugging percentage, 18th in home runs, and 19th in on-base percentage.
- Kemp Alderman is currently ranked top-five in the SEC in home runs, home runs per game, RBI, and RBI per game.
- Jacob Gonzalez has reached base in all 17 games of the 2023 season so far and is one of four Rebels with active double-digit on-base streaks.
- Mason Nichols has worked nine innings out of the bullpen for the Rebels, allowing just one earned run on three hits and earning two saves.
During the first two games of Ole Miss’ series against Purdue, Kemp Alderman and TJ McCants became the first pair of teammates to combine for six home runs in two-consecutive games since 1998. McCants hit two in Friday’s matchup and added one more Saturday while Alderman hit two on Saturday after hitting one the night before. Alderman now leads the team with eight long balls while McCants is in second with six.
The last pair to accomplish the feat were brothers Jason and Josh Huisman (3/15/1998 at Kentucky and 3/17/1998 at NE Louisiana). Jason Huisman hit two home runs in each game while Josh Huisman added one in each.
HOMERS ARE CONTAGIOUS
From March 7 to March 11 the Rebels hit three or more home runs in three-consecutive games for the first time since the 2019 Oxford Regional. They hit three in a midweek win over Southern Miss, three in a series opening win over Purdue, and then four in their extra-inning win in game two against the Boilermakers. TJ McCants hit four of the 10 home runs, Kemp Alderman hit three, Peyton Chatagnier hit two, and Anthony Calarco hit one.
YOU GO, WE GO
Jacob Gonzalez and Ethan Groff have combined to start all 17 games this season in the leadoff position and in 16 of the 17 games they have shared the first and second slots in the Ole Miss lineup. They are hitting a combined .381 (45-for-118) at the top of the lineup with 40 RBI, 44 runs scored, and 32 walks drawn. Gonzalez and Groff are the only two Rebels with an on-base percentage above .500, sitting at .524 and .541 respectively.
Ole Miss moved up in five of the six major national polls this week, receiving their highest ranking at No. 2 from the NCBWA. They also came in at No. 3 in the D1Baseball and USA Today Coaches Polls, No. 6 in the Baseball America poll, No. 8 in the Perfect Game poll, and No. 11 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
OUT OF THE GATE
Ole Miss has scored 54 of their 160 total runs in the first two innings of games, 33.8 percent of their total run production. They are outscoring opponents 54-11 in the first two innings of play. 63.1 percent of their runs have been scored in the first five innings of games.
STUDENT BECOMES THE TEACHER
With three more victories, head coach Mike Bianco will pass the legendary Skip Bertman for second-most wins by an SEC head coach. Bianco currently has 868 wins as the head coach of the Rebels, trailing just behind Bertman’s 870 wins as the head coach of LSU from 1984-2001. Bianco played for Bertman at LSU from 1988-89 and coached on his staff from 1993-97.
Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for all your Ole Miss baseball coverage.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.